Unplanned development works add to woes of city dwellers

Dhaka,  Wed,  20 September 2017
Published : 13 Aug 2017, 13:44:12

Unplanned development works add to woes of city dwellers

Kamrun Nahar
Unplanned development works have made all the indicators negative as it is evident in an average speed of vehicles, architects and town planners observed.

Terming Dhaka city 'an ICU patient', they said whatever development works have been done here were short-sighted and meant for creating new problems as there is literally no accountability and transparency here.

City dwellers continue to face problems like overpopulation, air, water and noise pollution, water-logging, traffic congestion, and lack of better environment which is necessary for a healthy life. Problems like water-logging and traffic congestion have been literally damaging the people's life in terms of loosing working hours, facing health risk and other social and mental disorders.

Shamsul Hoque, professor of the civil engineering department at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), told the FE that there is lack of coordinated work for the development of the city due to absence of rules and regulations.

Most of the agencies start digging the roads whenever fund is available causing immense sufferings to the common people for the whole year especially during the monsoon, he said.

He said no development work in any city in the world is done in this way as there are common utility duct and no wire is seen hanging on roads. Digging of the roads by so many service providers has been making the underground infrastructure vulnerable.

The land use frequency will increase in future for the additional population of the city, but there will be no roads or space for digging to install additional line, Mr Hoque said.

"In future, Dhaka city will be developed without utility connections. Dhaka cannot be called a modern city as it is in no way safe and aesthetic," he said.

"Dhaka is already an ICU patient as all the indicators of it are negative. In 1998, the average car speed was 25 kilometres (kms) per hour," he said, adding that after all the development works, the speed has come down to 6.5 kms per hour indicating its last stage.

In reply to a query whether unplanned digging of roads can be a cause of water-logging, he said the debris fall into the drains during any development work, making them dysfunctional. DWASA has been covering up the drains with box culverts which are filled with garbage, making rainwater stagnant on the roads for hours, he added.

Khairul Alam, a resident of Mirpur section 1, described the sufferings of Mirpur people for the past four months as the roads from Sony cinema hall to the Prime Minister's residence has been dug so badly that it takes 1.5 hours to reach Shyamoli from Technical.

He said big holes are not repaired after the development work. Office-going people and students are worst sufferers as they have to get stuck in traffic jam for hours. The holes become the source of water-logging and fatal accidents when there is heavy rainfall.

"DWASA started installing water pipeline few months back. That work has been completed for about two months but still the holes are not repaired rather preparation is on for starting new work for installing sewerage line in the same place," he added.   

Architect Akter Mahmud of Jahangirnagar University identified delay in starting the development work, lengthy project work and too many development works at a time in many places as the causes of enormous sufferings of city dwellers. There is negligence of the contractors and the city corporation officials also do not monitor it properly.

There are five arterial roads in Dhaka city. Digging or development work is going on in four of them paralysing the city. The five roads are: Gabtoli-Kalyanpur-Sangsad which is called Mirpur road, Mirpur 10-Rokeya Sarani-Khamarbari, Uttara-Farmgate-Motijheel (airport road) and Mohakhali-Moghbazar (satrasta intersection)-Progoti Sarani. Of these five roads, there is no digging work on only Uttara-Farmgate-Motijheel road.

He said there is no signboard describing the project with title, cost, duration, implementing agencies and other information on any project site in Dhaka which indicates lack of transparency.

"We suggested that the authorities concerned clean all the saucer drains, surface drains, natural canals on a priority basis to keep the rainwater flowing channel clear," he said.

The construction works, digging and solid waste have blocked many places of the water channels reducing the water carriage capacity, said Mr Akter.

Town planner Adil Mohammad Khan said there is area-wise discrepancy in development works. Posh area residents suffer less as the development works are done in a better way to avoid public sufferings.

The posh areas also do not have excess population against the capacity of the area, said Mr Adil. So, the population of the city must be controlled to make the development works effective for the citizens.

Experts said all the service providing agencies now pay more attention on the mega projects. That's why they neglect to repair the access road, secondary road and internal roads in overpopulated areas, causing sufferings to the people for months.

Besides, there is no coordination among the agencies and strict instructions from the government on road digging and public sufferings

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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